Benjamin Poke and Toby Tree share the second round lead at European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage on nine under par after both adding four under par rounds of 67 to their opening totals.
The duo both teed it up on the Lakes Course after carding five under par rounds of 67 on the Hills Course on day one and they share a one-stroke lead over four-time European Tour winner S.S.P Chawrasia and Finland’s Sami Valimaki with four rounds still remaining at Lumine Golf Club.
England’s Tree has endured a tough year after recovering from a broken bone in his leg to initially make a positive start to his season on the European Challenge Tour, before suffering another injury in the summer which forced him to miss a further six weeks. However, he is now looking refreshed with just two bogeys in the opening 36 holes of his quest for a European Tour card.
“I’m really pleased. I played solidly on both days and gave myself plenty of chances. I made a couple of bogeys today but bounced right back, so that’s good for me, bouncing back," he said. “I’m not really thinking about how long is left. I’m going through the process. There are four rounds to go and I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing.”
Poke, meanwhile, has just completed his first Challenge Tour season and finished in 29th position on the Road to Mallorca, admitting any additional category he attains this week is a bonus.
“I struggled a bit more today, especially off the tee," Poke said. "I got off to a good start and hit some great iron shots and also managed to hole a few putts as well. I had bit of a bump in the middle of the back nine. I broke my eight iron on 13 – I came up against a tree and had to give it a bit of a hack and I made par there, so it was worth it."
With two rounds to go before the four-round cut falls and the top 70 and ties advance, the vast majority of players are still within touching distance of the final two rounds.
Dutchman Wil Besseling, Italy’s Lorenzo Scalise and Germany’s Nicolai von Dellingshausen currently share tied fifth on seven under par, while six players are a shot further back in a tie for eighth, including last year’s joint-champion Alejandro Cañizares and fellow 2018 Qualifying School graduates Niklas Lemke and Louis de Jager.